“You know, you look real good even from this angle. But you know something? You walk like a carnivorous rastipod.”
You can’t fight City Hall, not even on such a spiritually-enlightened planet like Bajor. After years of destructive war and brutal occupation, Bajor is left to fend for itself, and a provisional government is put in place to get the trains running on time. Where a simple farmer like Mullibok, who tamed the land with his bare hands, can be given a stretch of dirt to live and build on, there are many more who need that land. The Bajorans (and Kira) are required to be the bad guys and kick the old man off his land so that a massive power plant can be built. The power plant would, in theory, serve millions of people, and the government does not want to waste any more time than is necessary to remove these already transplanted people.
Kira thinks it’s just a simple sweep-and-clear, but the old man has other ideas. He beats his plowshares into swords and defends the land against what he calls, “uniforms,” the soldiers who follow orders and give no back-talk. Kira, as we know, is many things but she’s not a “uniform.” She may be a tough cookie, resilient, independent, and strong. She’s also fragile, amenable up to a point, and passionate. I can’t imagine any other actress playing this part. Nana Visitor is a powerfully amazing talent, and her rapport with guest star Brian Keith (as Mullibok) is warm and stand-offish at the same time.
The charm of an old man like Mullibok is in his ability to exaggerate his ridiculous feats. He tells mad stories and is a master of hyperbole. He invites Kira to dinner and informs her he and his friends are not leaving. She doesn’t take him seriously until the next morning when she tries to force him to leave. He is injured by Bajoran security forces so Kira stays with him and nurses him back to health. She tells him he reminds her of an ugly, old stubborn tree, but I think what’s unsaid here is some connection to a father figure, maybe her grandfather.
After Julian visits to provide some medical treatment, Kira tells him she’s going to stay with the old man, and help him finish building his new kiln. Sisko pays her a visit to see if she’s completely lost her mind. She hasn’t, of course. This is where I begin to understand that Sisko is much more of a “people-person” than Picard ever was. He approaches people on a subjective level and engages them in conversation. Something tells me he’d be a good guidance counselor. This was very much a Kirk tactic. He’s impossible to hate, and Kira has a hard time hating him.
It’s easy to hate the Bajorans, though, too easy. After decades of being ignored during the occupation, they ignore their own people, and then conjure up rules of eminent domain to steal land. There is also the uncomfortable marriage of religion and government prevalent in the first few years of the show, but these are the birth pangs of freedom and liberty. What I enjoy most about this episode, though, are the scenes between Kira and Mullibok.
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